It is not just the fans of Arsenal Football Club who feel hard done by at times by the football officials in charge of our matches and to be honest I think it is just about impossible to be completely neutral and unbiased when it comes to supporting a team.
Having said that and still trying to be objective, I genuinely believe that the Gunners do not get the rub of the green that our Premier League and Champions League rivals get. I think that all English clubs ten to get harsher decisions than our European rivals and I believe that some bad feeling from Uefa is to blame, but that is another argument for another day.
In the Premier League , though, our chances of winning the title have too often been damaged by some poor decisions from a referee, such as the case when Mike Dean did nothing about the Chelsea striker Diego Costa’s repeated fouling of Laurent Koscielny before sending off Gabriel for pretty much nothing.
They were at it again yesterday and this time it was Martin Atkinson who seemed intent on either hurting Arsenal or helping Sunderland. The most obvious incident was the clear pull back on Alexis Sanchez in the box which was not given and then compounded by giving Sunderland a penalty at the other end.
Before that, however, there were a number of other cases where it seemed clear to me that Atkinson and his assistants were not being fair to Arsenal. Holding on Alexis in the 7th minute should have got us a free kick but didn’t. Rodwell clattered Coquelin and led with his arm so it could even have been red but was certainly a yellow card and we didn’t even get a free kick.
Pienaar should have been booked for a bad tackle on Alexis but wasn’t and there was a blatant foul throw with the linesman looking straight at the player and failing to take action and although it may seem petty, these things can make a difference.
We won the game so it did not matter but if we had lost and I blamed the ref people would say it was sour grapes, so is this the right time to ask whether the EPL officials, or some of them at least, have it in for Arsenal?